Erica Reischer Ph.D.

What Great Parents Do

Read Lots of Parenting Books but Still Feeling Stuck?

Here's a three-step recipe for change when we're feeling stuck.

Posted Sep 23, 2014

Feeling stuck?

Almost all of these parents are acutely aware of their situation and, in most cases, have read at least one parenting book with the goal of resolving the issue. These parents know what the issue is and they have sought out some guidance about how to address it. Despite this, they still feel stuck.

Why? Often, the answer to why we continue to feel stuck lies in the difference between knowing and doing.

The difference between knowing and doing is a critical one. While we generally cannot “do” without first knowing how, if we know but do not act on what we know, then change will not happen.

All of us have experienced examples of this: we know we shouldn’t eat a carton of ice cream, but we do it anyway. We know we should exercise regularly, but we don’t. We know we shouldn’t yell at our kids, but we do.

One of the keys to creating positive change in our lives is not just knowing what to do, but in actually doing what we know.

Doing what we know takes effort and practice. It is not easy, for example, to get up and go exercise when we really don’t feel like doing it. It’s definitely not easy to stop ourselves from yelling at our kids when they ignore us or disrespect us.

We know it’s the right thing to do, but it’s difficult to actually bring ourselves to do it (or not to do it). Sometimes this is because we don’t know exactly how to do what we know, and sometimes it’s because we aren’t taking the final step into action.

Ultimately, we need to know “what” to do, we need to know “how” to do it, and then we need to actually “do” what we know. This is the three-step recipe for change.

So if you find yourself feeling stuck, whether in your parenting life or elsewhere, ask yourself these questions to pinpoint where you need to focus:

  1. Knowing What: Is this an issue of not knowing what to do?
  2. Knowing How: Is this happening because I don’t yet know how to do something?
  3. Doing: Am I feeling stuck because I know what to do and how to do it, but I’m not yet putting that knowledge into practice?

In this new blog, What Great Parents Do, I’ll be focusing on all three of these steps for creating positive change in common parenting challenges. Thanks for joining me.

© Erica Reischer, Ph.D. 2014.

Dr. Erica Reischer is a psychologist, author, and parent coach.  She is available for consultations and media commentary.  More information at

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